Thankful: A List

This year has been really good—it’s been stretching and happy and sad and stressful and relaxing, and I’m glad that it isn’t over yet. Here’s a roundup of what I’m thankful for so far, because Thanksgiving. 

-parents who can get along

-natural light

-plants in my living room

-friends who take the time to know me 

-Tom Hanks

-airplanes

-JP Pond

-the color green

-The Yaris

-New York

-avocados

-the ability to run 

-craft beer

-road trips with my sister 

-quiet mornings 

-really good almond milk

-painted nails 

-pizza

-cozy sweaters

-bagels

-fire pits

-swimming in the ocean 

-tacos

-Nora Ephron 

-FaceTime

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you plenty of turkey and pie and hugs. 

Walden Pond in the Fall

I went to Walden Pond a few weeks ago. Some friends were visiting and so we strolled along and I watched them skip rocks.
The air was crisp and the sun was setting over the pond and it was almost too much to take in because it was so beautiful. It was one of those moments one wants to remember for always.

Giant Recap | Part Three

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetIt’s time for another giant recap. Summer 2015 was coming to an end and fall was well on its way.2015-09-19 12.49.03Back in September, my dad visited me in Boston for the first time, and in true tourist fashion, we took a bus tour of the city, complete with a jaunt on the harbor.

A few weeks later, I drove to Vermont for Heidi’s bachelorette weekend. We toured of Shelburne Vineyard and then ate pizza across the street at Folino’s.

To welcome in October, Tiff and Sarah visited Boston. We did all the fall things, including apple-picking and leaf-peeping. It was glorious. We also toured the Sam Adams Brewery, and visited Portland, ME, where we ate lots of lobster rolls, visited lighthouses, and toured the Allagash Brewery.

The following weekend, it was back to Vermont for Heidi’s wedding. Vermont in the fall is one of the best things the Northeast has to offer us, and this weekend was no exception. Heidi and Phil were married outside the farmhouse that Heidi grew up in, and it was so beautiful. I got to stay with Emma in her family’s lovely home. She showed me around a little, and we of course got creemees.

I really jam-packed my October with activities. The weekend after Heidi’s wedding, Steph came to visit me, and we did a repeat of all the fall activities. We visited Tower Hill Botanic Garden, drove around the Berkshires, went apple-picking, and most importantly, I finally pet a deer. That experience deserves its own post, so stay tuned.

More October highlights include Sabrina and Paul getting married, celebrating Rachael’s birthday in the Blue Hills, and spending Halloween attempting Escape the Room: Zombie Edition.

In November, I went home for Thanksgiving and got to hang with my cousins, visited the Armstrong Redwoods with my mom, and hung out with Amie for the first time since she left Boston.

And that’s it for the Giant Recaps! Phew. Soon, and very soon my flannel shirt will be making its debut for 2016! Though I’m not yet ready for this summer to be over.

A Weekend in Southern California

I got to go to Southern California in November for a quick visit for Brian and Morgan’s wedding and it was quite nice. (Again, I’m way behind on the vacation recaps…)

I flew out of Logan and arrived at LAX on a Wednesday night. Christine picked me up and we hung out at her house.

The next day, she drove me to UCLA so that I could catch a bus to the Amtrak station in Van Nuys. From there I went to Anaheim, where Matt picked up.

We visited the Anaheim Packing District, which is a super cool spot for food and hanging. After some great Indian food (and naan, which we were given for free because we were nice to the cashier after a lady was rude to her), we drove to Orange Circle. Matt had to get back to work so he dropped me off so I could explore until Lily got off work. I got a pedicure and visited some antique stores. Then Lily came and we did some shopping and ate sushi at Tokyo Cafe.

No trip to SoCal is complete without a visit to The Places, so the following morning, Summer and Christine came and picked me up and we headed to Disneyland.

This goes without saying, but that was very wonderful. At the end of the day, we drove Christine home and then Summer and I drove to her house.

We hung out in the morning, and then got sushi at Hikari Sushi (I ate a lot of sushi that weekend and I was very OK with that). Then I got ready for The Nichols’ Wedding and Summer drove me to the Westlake Village Inn for the ceremony and reception. It was very small and lovely and then we ate lots of food and drank lots of wine and did lots of dancing.

The day after The Wedding, Megan and I made a stop at Taco Bell, because when you live in the city and you’re somewhere else and you find a Taco Bell, you go to Taco Bell. For breakfast. Morgan’s mother invited us to her home for a lovely brunch (which we still enjoyed even after our Taco Bell Breakfast) and relaxing time.

Morgan got a limo to take us to LAX, so we of course made a stop at In ‘n’ Out. Megan had never had it before, so I was glad to be there for the moment. Then we left California on a Red Eye to Massachusetts. And I hope to never fly on a Red Eye again.

Pineapples and Newport

Newport pineapple

The weekend after my Toronto trip, my group at work got to go on a retreat to Newport, RI (last year our office went to Stowe, VT). I had never been to Newport before so I was excited for a weekend away in a new place. While there, I noticed an abundance of pineapples all around–on building doors, as knick-knacks in shops, at restaurants… and then I remembered this from HIMYM.

Newport

Basically, The Captain tells Ted that a pineapple is a symbol of hospitality–“an old sea captain’s tradition,” and it actually originated with New England captains. Since Newport is a New England seaport town, it only made sense for there to be pineapples everywhere. We walked around and visited some little shops, and I asked one of the employees at one of the shops about it, to refresh my memory. He confirmed that the idea was that you would place a pineapple outside your door to indicate to all your friends that you were back home safely from your travels and that they should come by for a visit.

Newport

I’m slightly allergic to pineapples, which, ironically, makes them inhospitable for my mouth. I always thought that it was normal for your tongue and lips to get red and bumpy when eating them, until someone told me otherwise. I’ve tried to avoid them since. I did learn today that apparently they are a good remedy for a sore throat (discovered here).

Hotel Viking Newport
Hotel Viking NewportHotel Viking Newport
Hotel Viking Newport

Pineapples or no pineapples, I had a lovely time in Newport. We stayed at the Hotel Viking and I had a beautiful room all to myself.

Hotel Viking Newport
NewportNewport
Newport
Newport

We walked all around and went on a harbor boat cruise. The seafood festival was that weekend as well, which worked out nicely, and I got to eat some very delicious scallops.

Newport
Newport
Newport
I liked it so much that I decided to go back this past December, but that is another post…

Toronto, ON | Canada

Toronto

This past October, Summer and I visited Toronto, Ontario and I’m so behind in sharing with you, but we did so many things, so here we go.

Day One

Toronto

I took a half day off from work and then went to the airport to hang out at the gate (this is one of my favorite things to do–the anticipation of my trip rises and I people-watch and read things and it’s just very nice). My seat ended up getting changed, so I was placed in preferred seating, and then the guy next to me got moved, so I had this whole little section with extra leg room all to myself, so I journaled and dreamed about our Toronto visit and it was just beautiful. I met  up with Summer at the airport, went through customs where we were asked interrogating questions over why we were there, figured out the transit, and made it to our hostel.

Kensington Market
Planet Traveler Hostel

We stayed at The Planet Traveler Hostel and the girl who checked us in was very friendly and showed us all around, including the great rooftop view. Once we got settled, we ventured out in the rain for Chinese food at Sichuan Garden. After dinner, we walked over to Kensington Market to try and find this hidden bar I had read about called Cold Tea. After a few wrong turns into some very dark and very scary alleyways, we found it. We ordered some Old Fashioneds and chatted with the bartenders. They were pretty cool, and told us about a taco place and some bars.

Day Two

Niagara Falls

We started Day Two off the Canadian way by getting Tim Horton’s. It was disgusting. We got on our bus to go to Niagara Falls, walked around the casino area for a bit, then went to get on our boat. We went through Niagara Horn Cruises and it was super fun. They gave us ponchos to wear, but we still got super soaked. Later I had to take my shirt off since it had gotten so wet. We had brought flip-flops and a change of pants to wear though, so that was good. Summer and I found an empty spot on the boat and were confused as to why it wasn’t filled with people, but we soon found out.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

It was so bright and misty and you could barely see anything and you’re being pelted with water and it was just hilarious.

Niagara Falls
Niagara FallsNiagara Falls
Niagara FallsNiagara Falls
Niagara FallsCanada
CanadaNiagara Falls

After the boat ride, we walked around some more. We went on the ferris wheel and then sat in Tim Horton’s then had lunch. We got some Starbucks then walked back to catch our bus.

Once back in Toronto, we went over to Dundas Square and walked through the mall. We had dinner at La Carnita, which was the taco place our bartenders had recommended the night before, and it was a great spot with even better tacos.

Day Three

Toronto
CN TowerCN Tower
CN Tower
CN Tower
CN TowerCN Tower
CN Tower
CN Tower
CN Tower
CN TowerCN Tower
CN Tower

The next day, we got up early and went over to the CN Tower. From there we had brunch at Fanny Chadwick’s, where I was pleasantly surprised to find a fellow Giants fan. You can see him pictured below because we’re creepers.

Fanny Chadwick's

Our waiter was a little weird, which made for good entertainment, and our food wasn’t too bad either.

Casa Loma
Casa Loma MooseCasa Loma Moose
Casa Loma
Casa Loma
Casa LomaCasa Loma
Casa LomaCasa Loma
Casa LomaCasa Loma
Casa Loma

From there we walked over to Casa Loma, Toronto’s very own castle, and went on a self-guided audio tour. From there we headed to the Entertainment District and relaxed in The Roastery Coffee House for a bit. I ordered a homemade cranberry apple cider and it was very good and autumnal.

Roastery Coffee House
Second City Toronto

Then we had dinner at Khao San Road, hung in Starbucks for a bit, and went over to Second City. The show was very funny, and we sat with this very Canadian couple who kept saying “ay” after things, so that made things even better.

Day Four

Steam Whistle Brewing
Steam Whistle BrewingSteam Whistle Brewing
Steam Whistle Brewing
Steam Whistle Brewing

We slept in, ate breakfast, and slowly made our way over to Steam Whistle Brewing. We went on the tour and learned that they re-use their bottles and only use four ingredients to make their one pilsner: spring-water, hops, barley, and yeast. Pretty cool. We got to drink lots of beer and it was very good. #daydrinking

Gooderham Building
Second Cup TorontoSt. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market
TorontoToronto

From there we walked over to the Gooderham Building and sat in a little coffee house chain called Second Cup that was nearby. Then we walked around St. Lawrence Market. Once were done there, we walked to some book stores and saw Old City Hall and Osgoode Hall. By this point, we were starving, so we found a little sushi placed called Ho Su, and I don’t know if it was really that good or if we were just really that hungry, but it was some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten.

The Book of Mormon TorontoThe Book of Mormon Toronto

We then walked over to the Princess Wales Theatre to enter the Book of Mormon lottery. My name ended up being called, so we won two front-and-center seats to that night’s show. We took some Book of Mormon jumping pictures in celebration. I hate my face in mine but it’s too hilarious not to share.

The Book of Mormon TorontoThe Book of Mormon Toronto
Entertainment District
The Book of Mormon TorontoThe Book of Mormon Toronto
The Book of Mormon TorontoThe Book of Mormon Toronto
The Book of Mormon Toronto

I won’t share how long it took us to get these just right, though. Summer and I had both seen the show before, but this time was extra hilarious because we could see all the actors’ facial expressions perfectly, which really added to the comedy. We ended our day the way two girls on vacation should end their day–with McFlurry’s.

Day Five

High Park TorontoHigh Park Toronto

For our last day in the city, we took the subway to High Park and walked around and watched lots of dogs play. It was a nice relaxing way to start the day. Then we stopped for brunch at Insomnia, which was very, very good, and worth the wait. We hung out in a bookstore for a bit, walked through Toronto University, went to Roots, which is a Canadian store that I would like to live in, then went back to the hostel to pick up our bags.

Then, sadly, it was time to head to the airport and depart from each other. And that was our wonderful trip to Toronto.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Steph in Boston

Back in September (yes, I’m very behind in my blogging), Stephanie came to visit me in Boston. It was nice because she had never been to the east coast so I got to show her all the things. She arrived on a Saturday and we had burgers at Union then walked all around the North End in the rain. We grabbed cannolis from Mike’s Pastry (of course) and snuggled up back home with them and a movie. It was quite lovely. The next day was church, and then later that night a bunch of us saw The Lion King at the Boston Opera House. I, of course, bawled throughout the entire thing. Almost inconsolably so. Like why do they do that to us? Why do I do this to myself, is perhaps, a better question.

I had work during the weekdays, so Steph used that time to explore the city. That Monday night we had tacos at Lolita’s with Daliah, Laura, and Heidi. Love that place. And those people.

That Thursday night we took a Bolt bus to New York City. We woke up super early the next morning and got started with our day. First stop–Tom’s so that we could get our pictures with the famous Seinfeld Restaurant, haha. From there we went to the pop-up Central Perk. It was really fun to see all the different props set up. And then we got to sit on the couch and that was wonderful.

From there we saw the Brooklyn Bridge, made a pit-stop at Jamba Juice, walked through Washington Square Park, went to the Friends apartment building, and stopped in Times Square. Then we walked around the Met for a bit, through Central Park, and met Michelle at Starbucks near her office for a bit. By this time of the day, we were starving, so we finally made our way over to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

Next on the list of places to see were Grand Central Station, the NBC Experience Store, and Rockefeller Center. By this point, after our very full day, we were both exhausted and ready to just get on our bus back to Boston. We made it back and went straight to sleep.

The next day was her last day. We grabbed breakfast at Mike’s Diner and walked around my neighborhood to relax. Then, sadly, it was time to part. Until your next visit, dear sister.